Everyone has heard of the Endangered Species Act. But Lisa DeBruyckere, writing an op-ed piece in the Salem Statesman-Journal, has something different in mind:
Idaho has done something about invasive species. It recently passed an Invasive Species Act that provides as much as $5 million of legislatively authorized emergency funding to respond to new invasions. Oregon has no such law despite the fact that early detection and rapid response are key to protecting Oregon from invasive species. Oregon needs similar legislation.
DeBruyckere, who is coordinator of the Oregon Invasive Species Council, goes on to point out that Oregon already spends much more than $5 million on fighting invasives:
Once invasive species begin to spread and become established, the cost to contain and control them increases exponentially. Currently, Oregon pays $121 million annually to control just 21 invasive plant species. We pay about $8 million per year to contain Sudden Oak Death. If we lose that containment, it could cost Oregon nurseries between $79 million and $304 million annually. The estimated cost to 13 hydropower facilities to manage zebra mussels if they enter the Columbia River system is $25 million per year.
In other words, prevention is cheaper than remediation. Something to think about. Worth noting, there is an Eradicating Invasive Species Summit next Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Oregon Zoo. Details are here (PDF file).